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Some Hope for Kant’s Groundwork III

Saunders, Joe (2021) 'Some Hope for Kant’s Groundwork III.', Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy .


Kant worries that if we are not free, morality will be nothing more than a phantasm for us. In the final section of the Groundwork, he attempts secure our freedom, and with it, morality. Here is a simplified version of his argument: 1. A rational will is a free will 2. A free will stands under the moral law 3. Therefore, a rational will stands under the moral law In this paper, I attempt to defuse two prominent objections to this argument. Commentators often worry that Kant has not managed to establish that we are rational beings with wills in the first place, and that he equivocates in his use of ‘free’ between premise 1 and 2. I argue that both of these objections can be overcome, and thus seek to offer some hope for Kant’s approach in Groundwork III.

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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way
Date accepted:18 October 2021
Date deposited:20 October 2021
Date of first online publication:06 December 2021
Date first made open access:21 December 2021

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